Monthly Archives: March 2013

Webinar Series 3: Business Assistance Resources for Virginia Beginning Farmers and Ag Entrepreneurs

Please join us for a webinar on Wednesday, April 17 3:00pm to 4:00pm

Webinar Series 3:  Business Assistance Resources for Virginia Beginning Farmers and Ag Entrepreneurs

 Presenter:  Stephen Versen, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

To participate in this webinar please go to: http://connect.ag.vt.edu/businessassistance

Politicians love small businesses; they also love farmers.  As a result, farmers and entrepreneurs in Ag-based businesses enjoy a bigger suite of government assistance programs than just about any other group.  However, there is also a lot of confusion about what really is available:  reasonable loans to beginning farmers (yes), grants to raise alpacas (no).  To help sort all this out, Stephen Versen, a Project Manager in the Agriculture and Forestry Development Services unit at VDACS (Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services), will be discussing some of the most useful state and federal programs and answering your questions about accessing them.  Major topics to be discussed are USDA loan and grant programs, as well as assistance available through the Commonwealth of Virginia, including:  the Virginia Grown/Virginia’s Finest programs and the new Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund (AFID). For more information about the webinar or questions, please contact webinar organizers Matt Benson (mcbenson@vt.edu) or Kim Niewolny (niewolny@vt.edu).

Check out the Program website at www.vabeginningfarmer.org for recordings of past webinars and to see what other exciting initiatives are being developed!

 

System Requirements

PC-based attendees

Required: Windows® 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server

Mac®-based attendees

Required: Mac OS® X 10.5 or newer

 

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Soulstice Farm Internship May –August 2013 in Bedford, VA

Soulstice Farm Internship May –August 2013

Soulstice Farm and A Growing Culture have collaborated to offer a Summer Internship Position at Soulstice Farm in Bedford Va. The A Growing Culture internship at Soulstice Farm Provides a unique experience for aspiring Farmers to be actively engaged with a fully operational farm. Soulstice farm is in a season of transition and is actively seeking a forward thinking, motivated person, to contribute to the design and implementation of the farm system.

Together we can learn, create and reflect on how to work with natural cycles and processes in a more sustainable way.  Using and experimenting with principles from Permaculture, Biodynamics, Biointensive and other sustainable agricultural methods we can continue to further design a farm that will help facilitate the relationship between both human and environment. Soulstice farm is a more than ideal place to come and learn about innovative farming techniques. 

About Soulstice Farm

Nestled in the hills of South Western Virginia, Soulstice Farm is located at the base of Sharp Top Mountain in Bedford County. With quick access to both the Appalachian Trail and the James River; the farm is in an excellent location for outdoor adventurers.  The property is 98 acres with about 40 acres of pasture.  There is a garden that is three quarters of an acre with a natural spring running through the property.  Here at Soulstice Farm we focus on ecological farming techniques taking steps beyond organic to ensure soil fertility and a balanced ecosystem.

Participants in the internship program will work along side farm manager Will Rutherford to research, develop, and create their own practicum project at the farm.  This is a unique experience in that the intern will be able to experiment with what his or her interests are.  Some examples of practicum topics could be the use of biochar in the garden or an experiment with a variety of composting techniques.  The goal is for the participant to explore ideas and methods that speak to him/her and provide the grounds and support to carry these ideas out.

Expectations of Intern Position:

  •  Help with the design process for further farm development.
  •  Take part in farm chores such as watering and feeding animals
  •  Participate in landscaping and grounds maintenance
  •  Planting and harvesting
  •  Participate in local markets and restaurant deliveries
  •  Keep up with the maintenance of farm tools and equipment
  •  Help advance the farm design to be efficient while decreasing outside inputs

Internship Practicum

The Intern will propose and create his or her own practicum project and follow the project out with the help and support of the members of Soulstice Farm.  The project chosen should be one of personal interest.  The project is expected to be completed by the end of the Soulstice Farm stay.  The Goal of this project is to provide an environment in which you can research, design and follow through with an idea that is important to you.  It is also required that you write three papers to be published on A Growing Culture’s website. For example writing a series about your practicum or writing three separate pieces on different aspects of the farm system. Members of AGC will be available for help and consultation during the writing process.

If you have interest in this internship position please send Will Rutherford your resume and cover letter to: willyvan83@gmail.com

 

 

 

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Farm Manager Position Available at the Harvest Table Farm in Meadowview, VA

The Harvest Table Restaurant in Meadowview, VA is currently accepting applications for the position of farm manager for The Harvest Table Farm. This is a salaried and full-time position, and requires that the person occupy the residence at the farm. The position has three primary responsibility categories. First, to operate the 3-acre sustainable farm to grow produce in coordination for the needs of the Harvest Table Restaurant. Second, to coordinate and help organize tours of the farm. The Harvest Table Farm is designed not only to supply our restaurant with produce, but the facility also operates as a demonstration farm, serving an education and visitation role in our community. Third, the farm hosts WWOOFers and interns on a seasonal basis, and short-term day volunteers, and the farm manager would be responsible for supervision of these workers.

Harvest Table Farm is located in Meadowview, VA on a rolling 3-acre plot about 2 miles from the restaurant. The job requires a person skilled in modern ecoagriculture, with a strong sense of the changing seasonal needs of a human-scale farm.

Position:    Full-Time, Salaried. Position open immediately.

Qualifications:   Defining the qualifications of the perfect farm manager would best be done by saying that we seek a person who is energetic, self-motivated, works well with others in difficult situations, and is experienced and dedicated to the modern ethic of small-scale sustainable agriculture. This is an excellent opportunity for an individual or couple who wants to launch a career in sustainable agriculture, providing a fully equipped farm with a guaranteed salary and guaranteed buyer for all produce grown.

The position and requirements are more complicated than can easily be conveyed in a simple job description. If interested, please contact Steven Hopp at info@meadowviewfarmersguild.com.

For a more detailed job description or for farm information, please visit our web site: http://www.meadowviewfarmersguild.com

 

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For Sale: Raised Bed and Row Cover Equipment

Available:  Raised Bed and Row Cover Equipment

Machine has been used for 3 years in summer vegetable production and kept under cover during winter season. Comes with 2 row drip tape attachment and makes 3′, 4′, or 5′ rows beds. Also available 1 roll of 4′ X 5000′ biodegradable black plastic and 2 rolls of Toro Aquatrax drip tape (8 mm, 12 “emitter spacing, 5/8” diameter). Originally purchased from Market Farm Implements. Price: $ 3,600 or best offer. Please contact: Diana Jerkins at 540-832-3334 or dsjerkins@gmail.com.

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Farm Assistant Position Available in Gordonsville, VA

Position Open: Farm Assistant
Gordonsville, VA

Legacy Farm in Gordonsville, VA is looking for a Farm Assistant for the 2013 season. The farm has been producing organic vegetable, fruits, and small grains for three years. The person would be responsible for all aspects of vegetable field work, including greenhouse propagation, field cultivation, irrigation, harvesting and direct marketing.  Prefer 1 year organic farming experience and someone that is self motivated, but would receive guidance and mentoring. The person should have knowledge of small farm equipment (rototiller, tractor, hay equipment). General farm activities will include pasture mowing and haying, fence repair, and general landscape up-keep. Production season is generally full-time from March to October. Part-time may be available during the winter months. Compensation is salary and benefits based on experience.

Please submit resume and cover letter to Legacy Farm, 667 Red Hill Road, Gordonsville, VA or dsjerkins@gmail.com.

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Attimo Winery and Virginia Tech Vineyard Grapevine Pruning Workshop

Attimo Winery and Virginia Tech Vineyard Grapevine Pruning Workshop

March 23, 2013      10:00 am

Held at Attimo Winery in Christainsburg, VA

RSVP @ 540-382-7619 or wine@attimowinery.com

Cost: free

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Mountain Heritage Farm Internship Opportunity — Waiteville, WV

Mountain Heritage Farm

215 Rays Siding Road

Waiteville, WV 24984

Janet McDaniel and Bruce Blaylock, Owners

Four to five-month (April/May-August/September 2013) internship opportunity (30-40 hours/week) to work on a 14-acre farm that grows vegetables and fruits for sale through online and on-site farmer markets, as well as the WV Farm-to-School program. The farm has two high tunnels, a shade house for growing lettuces and salad products, and three outdoor gardens. The farm is located between Peters and Potts Mountain ranges in Monroe County and provides nearby opportunities for hiking, fishing, bird watching, and exceptional scenery and wildlife for viewing and photographing.

Duties include assisting with and/or performing the following:

•    Starting, caring for, and planting seedlings/transplants

•    Preparing indoor and outdoor beds & gardens (using rototiller to prepare beds, instilling drip lines, spreading plastic, etc.)

•    Planting seeds

•    Opening and closing high tunnels to regulate temperature

•    Protecting plants with row covers

•    Insect checking and treatment (organic insecticides used)

•    Weeding vegetable and fruits (strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blue berries) in high tunnel and outdoor gardens

•    Harvesting produce—vegetables and fruits (strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blue berries, cherries)

•    Cleaning and preparing vegetables and fruits for sale at farmer markets

•    Taking products to aggregation site for online and Farm-to-School markets

•    Selling products at local markets (May-September)

•    Clean up & store coolers/totes after markets

•    Documenting planting, harvest, and sales data

•    Pet sitting & care of home/farm when owners are away (extra pay for care of dog

& cat)

•    Mowing grass with small tractor mower and weed-eating around gardens and yard

•    Other duties as needed

Expectations/Requirements:

Successful applicant will be self-directed and have good work ethic and gardening skills. Excellent communication skills and able to interact positively with diverse people required. No smoking or illicit drug use and responsible alcohol use—not when working on farm. Expected to pick up after self and keep bedroom, bathroom and common areas of home (i.e. kitchen & living room) clean. Pay $100/week plus room and food, especially vegetables/fruits from farm. Phone and internet access provided, although cell phone access is not available at the farm. Must provide three references from former employers and/or faculty.

Interested applicants should contact Janet McDaniel at mcdaniel.janetl@gmail.com or call 540-392-2871.

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NRCS EQIP Organic Initiative Sign-up Deadline = Friday, March 15th.

EQIP Organic Initiative
Sign up by March 15 for 2013
There is lots of money left in the EQIP Organic Initiative for the 2013 season.

If you are certified organic, or are transitioning to organic and plan to seek USDA certification within the next three years, this program can offer financial and technical support in adopting conservation practices, including those that will help you achieve or maintain compliance with the NOP standards.  The EQIP Organic Initiative can be especially valuable to farmers who have purchased new land that has undergone some soil or other resource degradation that needs to be addressed before organic farming will be successful, or that has ecologically sensitive features such as wetlands or highly erodible land.  It is also valuable to new and beginning organic producers.

Even if you are not USDA certified organic, most of these practices and payments are available through the regular EQIP program, at somewhat lower but still substantial payment rates.

For more information and to initiate the application process, visit your local NRCS office ASAP – and if your local NRCS staff are not able to answer all your questions or give you the help you are needing, contact our VA state coordinator for organic producers using NRCS programs,:
Ron Wood
ProTracts, PRS, Toolkit, eAUTH –  Coordinator
Organic Initiative/WHIP Manager, Virginia NRCS
804 287-1660; e-mail Ron.Wood@va.usda.gov, FAX 804 287-1736

To find your local office, and for more info on Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) in Virginia, visit:  http://www.va.nrcs.usda.gov/

Please share the above information with anyone in your networks or e-mail lists whom you think might be interested.  Deadline for initial application at a local NRCS office is March 15 – applicants do not need to have all the details of their contracts worked out by then.

 

CPS 595 Integrated Pest Management – a small diversified organic or specialty crop farm can receive up to $655 for implementing a comprehensive Integrated Pest Mamagement program that addresses multiple resource concerns (water quality, wildlife, soil).  Larger specialty crop farms can receive payments up to $110 per acre, and orchards $170 per acre.  This is the first time that EQIP has offered payments for Integrated Pest Management in Virginia, and it can be a tremendous hand-up for both small and larger scale specialty crop farmers who want to adopt ecologically sound, Earth-friendly pest management strategies.

CPS 590 Nutrient Management – for organic systems $33/ac; small diversified specialty crop farms can receive $480 to develop and implement a Nutrient Management Plan for the whole operation, or $1,140 for an “adaptive nutrient management plan” (more precise and extensive management through the season).

CPS 328 Conservation Crop Rotation – if you add a perennial sod break to your specialty crop rotation to conserve soil and enhance soil quality, payments are $1,550/ac for certified and transitioning-organic systems.  If you adopt a continuous no fallow / continuous live cover rotation (a “tight” rotation of annual production and cover crops in wihch bare soil periods are kept to a minimum) for organic specialty crops, payment is $700/ac.

 

CPS 327 Conservation Cover – If you design the practice to provide pollinator habitat scenario, conservation cover plantings are paid at $320/ac.

CPS 340 – Cover Crop – $40 – 110/ac for organic producers, depending on the main objectives of cover cropping(erosion control, nitrogen fixation, weed suppression, etc).

CPS 484 Mulching – with natural materials for erosion control or weed control/moisture conservation ($260 – 325/ac).

CPS 332 – Contour Buffer Strips – these are strips of permanent vegetations on contour on a sloping field to prevent erosion losses during annual crop production. Paymnts tare $260 – 400 per acre of land converted to buffer.

CPS 528 Prescribed Grazing – $25/ac, $28/ac organic.

CPS 412 Grassed Waterway – these are swales in permanent grass to divert runoff away from tilled fields, high tunnels, etc, to prevent gully erosion.  $1500/ac for organic and high tunnel initiatives.

CPS 422 Hedgerow – $1.90 – 2.70 / linear foot.  Scenario with pollinator habitat under the hardwoods paid 30 cents/ft higher than others.

CPS 386 Field Border – these are permanent vegetation habitat plantings at edges of fields – again includes income foregone, and much higher for pollinator habitat and organic seed:  Mixed grasses and forbs $290/ac in the border planting; organic seed $480; pollinator habitat $600/ac, and organic seed for pollinator habitat $930.

 

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Webinar Series 2:Exploring Best Food Safety Practices and GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) Certification for Beginning Farmers

Webinar Series 2:

Exploring Best   Food Safety Practices and GAP (Good Agricultural Practices) Certification for   Beginning Farmers

Wythe   Morris, Virginia Cooperative Extension Agent, Commercial Horticulture

To   participate in this webinar, please go to: http://connect.ag.vt.edu/vabeginningfarmergap

Local and regional food   systems that connect farmers to nearby markets are continuing to grow   throughout Virginia and the U.S. Because of this, many farmers are   experiencing a wider array of marketing opportunities such as through farmers   markets, restaurants, grocery stores, schools, colleges, universities, and   hospitals. Through a 2011-2012 survey of Virginia beginning farmers and   ranchers, respondents indicated that they had lower levels of knowledge about   food safety and good agricultural practices (GAP) certification compared to   other production practice needs. Virginia beginning farmer respondents also   indicated that they were utilizing numerous direct and intermediate marketing   channels for distribution and sale of their products. The purpose of this   webinar is to help Virginia beginning farmers and ranchers and other   agricultural service providers understand the policies, regulations, and processes   that allow for safe food production, distribution, and consumption. Please   join us for a presentation by Mr. Wythe Morris, Virginia Cooperative   Extension Agent in Commercial Horticulture as he describes best food safety   practices and the GAP certification process. Following this presentation, you   will have an opportunity to ask Wythe your questions as he helps guide you   through safe food production and certification. For more information about   the webinar or questions, please contact webinar organizers Matt Benson (mcbenson@vt.edu) or Kim Niewolny (niewolny@vt.edu).

Recordings of past webinars   can be found on the project website: http://www.vabeginningfarmer.aee.vt.edu/webinar/Archive/webinar-archive.html.

System Requirements

PC-based   attendees

Required:   Windows® 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server

Mac®-based   attendees

Required: Mac OS® X 10.5 or newer

No registration is   required. A few minutes before 3PM, go to the website address above and login   by typing in your name under the “guest account”. You will then be taken to   the webinar. Once logged in, run the audio wizard setup (Select MEETING/RUN   AUDIO SETUP WIZARD) to ensure your computer speakers are hooked up and on. To   hear the audio and presenters, speakers must be turned on. For additional   technical assistance, contact Carl Estes with Virginia Tech at (540)   231-1385. During the webinar, questions can be typed into the chat box on the   left hand side of the screen.  A   recording of this webinar will be available at the Virginia Beginning Farmer   Project website afterwards.
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